New iPads integrated into classes

Cole Donnelly

Junior Gabriela Manuela uses an iPad during her first period AP Language and Composition class on March 3 with teacher John Blaber.
Junior Gabriela Manuela uses an iPad during her first period AP Language and Composition class on March 3 with teacher John Blaber.

Many Redwood students have begun using iPads in some of their classes as part of a new learning program being put into effect across the Tamalpais Union High School District.

Only a select number of teachers were able to use the iPads during last year’s pilot of the program.  This year, 36 teachers are enrolled across the district in the program’s official implementation, and each has received an iPad cart for their classrooms.

The program, called the Instructional Technology Teacher Collaborative (ITTC), is aimed at helping teachers as well as students in their education.

“The goal of the program is to give an opportunity to teachers to continue in their ongoing professional development and to make technology a more natural part of the learning process,” said Tara Taupier, the TUHSD senior director of instructional technology.

Science teacher Joe Stewart said that he has had no trouble working the iPads into his curriculum.

“I have used them for research and document processing,” Stewart said.  “For my upcoming Sustainable Agriculture course, I intend to use them for data collection and blogging.”

Instructors who wish to incorporate iPad carts into their classrooms must have completed one year of teaching before they can apply to join the program. They are required to take a workshop in the summer and take a two-hour course once a month for two years following their acceptance.

Once the teachers have the carts, they are required to assign at least one project per year that utilizes the iPads.

Each iPad has an array of educational applications including calculators, research applications, and  studying aids.

Junior Darius Collins has used the iPads in both his AP United States History class and his AP Environmental Science class.  While Collins favors using the iPads over a printed textbook, he said that he prefers normal laptops to the Apple tablets.

“On a more practical level, the laptops are easier to type on. They are easier to complete assignments on,” Collins said.

However, Collins said that he likes the versatility of the iPads.

“There is a lot more information available on the Internet than in a textbook. You have access to so much more,” he said.

Drake piloted a  program in which some students had the opportunity to be assigned specific iPads for the entire school year. Redwood hopes to eventually be able to implement a similar system.

The school district will continue to evaluate how much the iPads improve learning and whether or not to invest in more.